I started this blog while sitting by the water sometime in August, but at my relaxed summer pace I see the calendar has flipped into September and another summer has turned to fall. The following are some musings from the lake, before we start our fall blogging schedule. Enjoy!
As I sit by the water watching scores of geese head south, it is clear fall is around the corner. We continue to be on summer hiatus but we wanted to let you know we are remaining busy preparing for the fall. Hopefully you have heard Mike on some podcasts with our good friends at Booming Encore, and followed us on twitter.
It has been an active summer for both of us, but we have managed to get in some “me time” and “family time”. I will leave Mike to share his story in future blogs, but suffice to say we have enjoyed the extremely hot weather, well except during our training (marathon and triathlon) days. So today I thought I would share some thoughts that came to me while at the lake.
First I have to admit to a guilty pleasure, I love old time radio shows, the first “podcasts” if you will. The shows were popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. The type of shows vary from comedies, science fiction, news, variety, westerns and detective shows. Most of our readers will remember the radio being the main source of news and entertainment for our parents which was replaced by the TV for us and the internet for our children. I love that these shows were simple, corny and overacted by any standard. The shows however were still entertaining and give us a glimpse into life some 70 years ago. It is odd hearing cigarette commercials, along with phrases and language that would be completely inappropriate by today’s standards.
Listening to an episode of “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar”, I was struck by the description of the character who married a younger woman. The protagonist asks “Why would a young vibrant woman marry an old decrepit 50 year old man?” The character goes on to meet the now 60 year old man and is greeted by a “feeble man” sitting in a wheel chair, wrapped in a shawl. I thought boy times have changed, Mike is training for a triathlon next year and I’m training for the Berlin marathon, my third marathon this year. I am sure many of you are involved in some sort of active lifestyle as well. We now know we will be living longer and we are generally taking better care of ourselves. Still, I was struck by how much life has changed in only 70 years, not a long period of time in our homo sapien history.
We now talk about 70 being the new 40, “I am never going to retire”, “life begins at 60”, nothing feeble here. Fleetwood Mac is heading out on another tour led by Stevie Nicks 70, Christine McVie 75, Mick Fleetwood 71. Why would you ever retire and stop doing what you love? Anything is possible in this world we live in and change is rapid. Retirement just means we now have “flexibility” to do what we want when we want, with the caveat that we have financial flexibility. We all have to prepare for this new increase in life expectancy! We need to stay healthy, eating right, exercise, work on our terms.
Thought two – As I see my children start their careers and adapt a major life event moving from a student to a young adult’ and adapting to everything that goes along with that, bills, commuting, responsibilities, etc.. I see a parallel with my wife and I adapting to our major life event called retirement. We are all trying to find a new rhythm my children working full-time and my wife adjusting to retirement
Like other major life events over the years, marriage, promotions, children, we learn to adapt and get into a new rhythm. In retirement finding a new rhythm does not have to happen overnight in fact it may take longer than many of the life events in the past, because most of us knew back then what was happening with lots of examples from family and friends to help. An example would be having a child, we have lots of friends to provide advice, on childcare, toilet training after school programs, schools etc.. You and your partner adapt to your new routine picking the kids up after work, getting them to sports, school events, that busy rhythm that comes with raising a child, most of us looking back would not change a thing.
Another major event a promotion at work wonderful but now you require more time at the office and travel, your partner may need to take a bigger role in child care, you adapt and a new rhythm begins.
The joy of retirement is that there really are no rules. The old retirement paradigm as we have said before, does not work! If you want to start a new company – great, if you don’t want to have a schedule wonderful, want to take up guitar go for it. The challenge is how can you and your spouse/partner fulfill your needs, individually and as a couple. It may take a few month or years as you try new things, experiment and find what works for you and your partner/spouse.
No matter how challenging our work life may have been for most of us your home and family provided support and comfort. As a couple you had a common focus raising a healthy and happy family. Individually you and your spouse may have each had a career where you were satisfying personal needs, trying to progress into more senior roles, developing more skills, increased pay, and greater responsibilities. In my case my wife and I would talk about career opportunities make the best decision for each of us and as a family. If my role required travel my wife would avoid roles with a hectic travel schedule. Now in retirement we are adapting to another major life event however the landscape is not as well defined. Retirement is a major life event with dated traditions and norms, so finding what works for you and your partner does not need to be rushed.
My wife and I continue to experiment with what our new rhythm will be, individually and as a couple. What I have learned from observing friends and my own experience is that adapting to retirement is a three phased process – How you adapt, how your partner adapts and how the couple adapts. Adapting individually may seem pretty straight forward but it will have an impact on “couple time”. All three parts need to be in alignment for happiness in retirement.
In our working life, especially if you came from a corporate environment, you were able to fulfill many of your needs, things like project management, mentoring, people management, problem solving, etc. Now in a less structured retirement environment you may find satisfying your needs challenging. Make sure you communicate with your partner and remember there is no urgency to get into a retirement rhythm, for many of us it may take us years to get your rhythm, thats ok, just remember to enjoy the retirement ride.
Our advice start planning early, experiment and communicate. It is a great journey
So while you are reading this I will be in Berlin preparing for the marathon. We will get into a regular routine in October, but we may be back to you later in the month.
Happy fall everyone.